• The state of Walthers

  • Discussion related to everything about model railroading, from layout design and planning, to reviews of related model tools and equipment. Discussion includes O, S, HO, N and Z, as well as narrow gauge topics. Also includes discussion of traditional "toy train" and "collector" topics such as Lionel, American Flyer, Marx, and others. Also includes discussion of outdoor garden railways and live steamers.
Discussion related to everything about model railroading, from layout design and planning, to reviews of related model tools and equipment. Discussion includes O, S, HO, N and Z, as well as narrow gauge topics. Also includes discussion of traditional "toy train" and "collector" topics such as Lionel, American Flyer, Marx, and others. Also includes discussion of outdoor garden railways and live steamers.

Moderators: 3rdrail, Otto Vondrak, stilson4283

  by epspsy
 
I remember the time (the era) when a modeler could find just about anything under the sun from Walthers. Now their monthly "Flyer" is progressively free of content for the serious model train lover. This is beyond the fact that they have not evolved
much beyond the 1950's in locos, rolling stock, structures, etc. Only the trees are "current".

The many pieces I have collected over the past 30 years or so, mostly Walthers stuff are now irreplaceable collectors items. Seems a sad commentary.
  by CNJ999
 
There have been several threads here in the recent past addressing the current declining state of the hobby, as well as one or two specifically targeting the state of the Walthers Company. Your observations are largely reflected in the posts to those other threads. Indeed, Walthers is today but a shadow of what it once was as THE place to go to source hobby materials, model railroading kits and such. Much of what they offer in their catalogs these days isn't even in stock and the hobbyist often has long waits before his order can be completed...if at all.

Like yourself, I too recall the glory days of Walthers and the often unique items they offered. I'm still searching eBay for one of their HO Shuttle-Jack locomotives of long ago...just as you say, today a real collectors' item.

CNJ999
  by JamesRR
 
In my 27 years in the hobby, I initially saw Walthers as a distributor. Their catalog was the Bible of products (before the internet). My local hobby shop would order anything from that catalog, through Walthers.

I still see them as that, but more as a manufacturer now. With the Walthers PROTO line, for example, stepping up the quality of products they offer (in terms of accurate detailing). Take the new Amfleet cars - quite a difference from the kit versions they offered in the late 80s. Yes, way more expensive, but more appealing to a discerning modeler.

For myself, a Northeast commuter/passenger modeler, I see many more options now in the market for satisfying my needs in the hobby. When I began, it was a freight and steam paradise, but the modern passenger modeler was all but ignored. That has changed - especially with specialty brands putting out limited runs, but also from the bigger manufacturers getting into specialized models, too (Like Atlas doing the New Jersey Transit commuter trains recently).
  by cr9617
 
The guys at my local hobby shop say that Walthers has been asking for payment up front on orders as opposed to allowing them to charge it and pay the account monthly. Take it for what its worth, but usually a sign they aren't doing too good.
  by JamesRR
 
cr9617 wrote:The guys at my local hobby shop say that Walthers has been asking for payment up front on orders as opposed to allowing them to charge it and pay the account monthly. Take it for what its worth, but usually a sign they aren't doing too good.
Or they've been burned by too many shops in the past.